Chris Reifert Discusses New Abscess Album "Dawn Of Inhumanity"
Guitarist and vocalist Chris Reifert has been involved with such lauded death metal acts as Death and Autopsy. His current band Abscess just saw a new release in the form of "Dawn of Inhumanity," a punk influenced album with a raw production that many fans of old school death metal crave. Speaking on the new album Reifert commented, "Our goal was to have it be like one piece and you want to hear the whole thing. Each song lends itself to the one before and after at. We wanted to get the full album experience instead of having people just put one or two songs on their iPod and forget the rest." A transcription of my conversation with Chris about the new album and the band's history can be viewed below.
xFiruath: Tell me a bit about the history of Abscess. When did the band start up and where has it gone so far?
Chris: Abscess started in ’94, so it was 16 years ago. That was back when our old bands broke up, which was Autopsy, Hexx, and a band called Immortal Fate. We started Abscess out of the ruins of that stuff and we’re still going.
xFiruath: Are you doing anything outside of Abscess at the moment?
Chris: We’re doing Autopsy as well at the same time. We’re finding the right pockets of time to be able to do both bands.
xFiruath: The new Abscess album “Dawn of Inhumanity” just came out. Where was the recording handled?
Chris: We recorded at Fantasy Studios over here in Berkeley. We worked with our faithful engineer Adam Munoz. We’ve been working with him for 10 years now. It was a really great studio and working with Adam is always killer. He knows exactly what we want so he’s turning the knob even before we tell him what we want. As far as the production we pretty much worked together with Adam on that. We know what we want and he’s got the means to bring that to life.
xFiruath: How does “Dawn of Inhumanity” sound in comparison to your earlier full-length albums?
Chris: It’s a little bit different. We’ve got a lot of stuff out and no two recordings really sound alike. Some are super raw and rough and some are fairly refined for us. This one we think has got a really good song and we’re very happy with it. It’s what we wanted. Whether other people think it’s a good sound is yet to be seen. I’m sure there will be criticisms as usual but we are really happy with it. It has a thick and heavy sound and there’s a lot of depth to it. We’ve never really fit in with what the majority calls “good production,” for lack of a better way to put it. We want it to sound like a real band not some computerized thing.
xFiruath: I’m writing a review of the album and I was impressed by how many different influences there are there. Its death metal but then you’ve got a punk feel in some of the songs and I really didn’t see that kind of psychedelic and proggy guitar passage coming in “Dead Haze."
Chris: That’s good. I’m glad you like it. We definitely wanted to make it full of surprises. Every time something different happens you don’t see it coming so there’s some good moments like that. We’ve pretty much always been cool with putting whatever sounds good in the song there, whether it’s some fast and brutal death metal or something more punkish or straight up doom or whatever. As long as its heavy and brutal that’s the main result we go for.
xFiruath: What are the lyrics about on “Dawn of Inhumanity?”
Chris: It’s kind of what comes out of our heads. We don’t usually have storylines or themes or anything like that. It sort of a stream of consciousness and completely insane and fucked up. There’s no real storylines to speak of. You could probably find different meanings if you take the time to, but maybe not you might think its gibberish too. It just depends on what you want to find in there. Having said that we do take great care to make sure the lyrics are how we want them to be. We don’t just scribble down any old thing. There’s definitely a lot of care and construction put in there. Whether it makes sense to anyone, who knows?
xFiruath: Which part of the album do you personally like the best?
Chris: I’m satisfied with the whole thing. I do enjoy a couple of things that are a little bit different from what we’ve done. “Dead Haze” is a little bit trippy and different from what we usually do but it’s just as effective, if not more. “The Rotting Land” is just really strange and pretty disturbing sounding. I really like that a lot and I can just listen to that and get lost in it and forget where I am. Our goal was to have it be like one piece and you want to hear the whole thing. Each song lends itself to the one before and after at. We wanted to get the full album experience instead of having people just put one or two songs on their iPod and forget the rest. There’s so much of that and it’s hard to really dig in deep to everything. We hope to be an exception to that.
xFiruath: I love the cover artwork. Who handled the art for the album?
Chris: That was by a guy named Dennis Dread. He’ll definitely be happy to hear that. He’s really great and we’ve worked with him several times. His stuff is a trip and he only works in ballpoint pen, which is kind of unusual. He’s got his own style 100%, you look at anything he’s done and you can tell it’s him. It’s unique and it fits our music really well.
xFiruath: Have you got any tour dates or festival appearances lined up for the new album?
Chris: No we’re not going to tour. That’s just not what we do. I know that’s a lot of bands way of life but we just can’t do it and don’t have the desire to either. As far as festivals go we’ll let the album get out a bit and see how it does and then take things from there. We’ll take that one step at a time.
xFiruath: What have you got in the CD player these days?
Chris: You know it just depends on what day you ask. It’s always something different. I’ve been enjoying that new Slayer “World Painted Blood” quite a bit. I know a lot of people either love it or hate it, but I think it’s really great and kick ass. I listen to a lot of early psychedelic underground groups and really obscure and strange bands. It’s really a mix of everything. I’m bad at this question because I can’t pinpoint one or two things. My tastes are pretty strange because it goes from metal to this to that to the other thing.
xFiruath: Any parting words for us?
Chris: Hopefully people like the album, and if not there’s more coming anyway.
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